Australian Shepherd originated in the Western US and not in Australia in the 1840s when it was the time of the Gold Rush. This breed got initially been bred for herding and always remained the working dog at heart. This dog is also known as Aussie and is the happiest dog in the world. He is the best family companion because of his energy and intelligence channeled into dog activities and sports.
- Breed name: Australian Shepherd (Aussie)
- Country of origin: USA
- Weight: males 25-30 kg, females 18-25 kg
- Height (height at the withers): males 51-58 cm, females 46-53 cm
- Colors: Merle, Black, Red Merle, Red tricolor, Black tricolor, Blue Merle, Red
- Temperament: Intelligent, Affectionate, Good-natured, Protective, Active
- Life Expectancy: 13 – 15 Years
- Australian Shepherd. Despite their name, the Australian Shepherd dog breed originated in the western United States.
- Dogs are easily trainable and for this reason, are often used for duty or as guide dogs.
- Aussies are known for their friendliness, which allows them to easily get along with other animals.
- The good-natured appearance of the shepherd dogs does not diminish their ability to give a worthy rebuff to the offender.
- This breed needs 60 minutes of exercise every day.
- Australian Shepherds are not the best option for keeping in an apartment, but frequent walks more than compensate for this.
- These animals are hyperresponsive and can look after a child, cat, or hamster for several hours.
- An inexperienced owner will not be able to suppress the dominant character of the pet.
- Aussies need careful grooming (especially for the coat).
To watch an Australian Shepherd up the flock of sheep is an incredible sight. With athletic and sure movement, this dog directs the congregation with the help of nips, eyes, and barks. These are intelligent and versatile dogs with no non-sense personality. He thrives in the house and also puts his energy and brain for the best use. It is good to keep Australian Shepherds busy every time. These dogs are highly energetic who are not aware of the meaning of couch potato.
The temperament of Australian Shepherds
The Australian Shepherd is an intelligent working dog with a strong herding and guardian instinct. He is a loyal companion with enough energy to withstand work all day. Gifted with a good temperament, good-natured, and rarely quarrelsome. It can sometimes be reserved in a first approach.
Australian Shepherds are highly energetic that require a lot of exercises and a walk in the neighborhood. They are versatile and easy to train, capable of performing their assigned tasks with great style and enthusiasm. Aussie dogs are also very sociable by nature, and mostly they are not aggressive dog breeds.
It is important to socialize and train your Australian Shepherd at an early age if at all possible, they get along well with everyone and are very tolerant of children, so they make friends easily and are always looking for the company of their loved ones.
Is the Australian Shepherd a good family dog?
These dogs can make excellent family dogs with the right socialization and training. They are loyal to people of all ages and will get along well with other animals in your home.
Their herding instincts can be a problem for young children. However, if you’re dedicated to curbing such behaviors (we’ll detail how later), an Australian will make a great family dog.
Why you shouldn’t get an Australian shepherd?
Australian Shepherd Appearance
The Australian Shepherd is a sturdy, medium-sized dog with a thick, medium-length coat, a powerful head, and a straight or docked tail.
Australian Shepherds have quite developed muscles, they are strong and flexible dogs. The ears of the Australian Shepherd are semi-erect, the eyes are almond-shaped, they can be brown, blue, cinnamon, amber, and also with specks. Some have piercing blue eyes, others have warm eyes, and some even have different colored eyes. Because these pups use their fierce eyes to herd, they have a deep, penetrating gaze that will put you in a trance – their sharp eyes see everything.
Height and weight
These hard-working dogs have compact bodies that allow them to move freely. They typically weigh 40-65 pounds and stand 18-23 inches tall.
Being light and close to the ground, allows them to be agile and change direction quickly while driving.
Colors and coat
The color of the Australian Shepherd is probably its most distinctive feature. These beautiful dogs almost always have a blackbird pattern on their fur.
Merle is not a color but a pattern in which darker spots appear on a lighter background.
Merle blue and red are the most common versions of this pattern. The blue blackbird results in black spots on a gray background, while the red blackbird results in red spots on a beige background. Interestingly, as they age, the merle pattern usually darkens.
Every now and then you will find Australians in a solid color like black.
Its double coat is of medium length and beautiful feathers around its legs. Males have very thick fur around the neck and chest that almost mimics a lion’s mane. Their coat can be smooth or wavy: each dog has a unique coat.
6 fun facts about Australians
- They are commonly known as Australians.
- Australians were known as the cowboy sheepdog because they gained so much popularity in Western culture after WWII.
- Curiously, these special puppies do not come from Australia. Their ancestors, the Shepherd of the Pyrenees, were developed in the Pyrenees (which lie between France and Spain) by the Basques. These skillful dogs were later crossed with collies and border collies and brought to Australia, where there was more land to farm. They eventually made their way to California, where locals assumed this breed originated in Australia, hence its name.
- Australian Shepherds lead their herds with a strong eye, which means they stare at their herd members to intimidate them into moving in the direction they want them to go.
- Like most purebred breeds, breeders have developed teacup or mini versions of the Australian Shepherd to meet the growing demand for miniature dogs.
- They are most often used for herding or appear in rodeos. However, they are expert therapy and service dogs, drug detection dogs, and search and rescue dogs.
Pros and cons
- Affectionate and loyal to the members of the family.
- Very hard-working and versatile.
- Silly and lively personality.
- Intelligent and eager to please.
- He gets along well with other dogs.
- You need a lot of exercises.
- It will chew when left alone for a while.
- Shed heavily.
- You can pinch and herd children.
History of the Australian Shepherd
There are also many theories on the origin of the Australian Shepherd; the breed we know today developed exclusively in the United States. It was given this name by association with the shepherd dog of Basque origin, which arrived in the United States in the 19th century and hailed from Australia.
The popularity of the Australian Shepherd increased considerably after World War II, with the great notoriety achieved by “Western” riding, which people came to know through rodeos, horse competitions, movies, and TV shows. Due to its versatile nature and easy to train, this dog was used on farms and vast American possessions.
Livestock breeders persevered in the development of the breed, maintaining its versatility, acute intelligence, strong herding instinct, and the attractive look they had admired from the start. Although each subject is unique in terms of color and size, all Australian Shepherds show unsurpassed devotion to their families. The many qualities have ensured this breed continued popularity.
Caring for an Australian Shepherd
Having an Australian Shepherd as your first dog can be challenging.
This is because your exercise needs are so intense.
They are not recommended for a first-time owner – these dogs need a lot of mental and physical stimulation and will quickly start to misbehave if they don’t get the exercise they need.
If you can handle your exercise needs, all other aspects of your care are very simple.
Exercising an Australian Shepherd is the most demanding aspect of their care.
These puppies have a great deal of energy and need exercise and work to stay physically and mentally fit.
While they are expert farmers, you don’t need a flock of animals to keep them busy.
They are eager and talented to work on obedience. and agility training, dock diving, and even hunting. They have the ability to learn many tricks. These dogs will also be happy to help you with household chores (like carrying groceries). They also happily accept more serious jobs like service dog work. and therapy work.
Because they have so much excess energy, these dogs do not adapt easily to apartment life. They need large backyards and room to roam.
They will enjoy two long walks each day in addition to playtime. He will walk, bike, run, swim and do whatever it is you are doing to unleash all his crazy energy.
- A number of walks per day: 2.
- The total exercise required per day: more than 90 minutes.
Grooming and moving out
Their fur is not difficult to handle, however, they will shed frequently. It sloughs off in groups and will quickly line up in your home.
To keep their shedding in check, you need to brush them at least once a week and 2-3 times a week during shedding season.
Brushing them frequently will also help keep your dog’s hair free of knots.
They only need to bathe a few times a year. Over bathing any breed of dog can quickly dry out its skin, so only bathe it if it appears dirty or smelly.
As with all breeds, you should trim their nails every 1-2 months, brush their teeth weekly, and check their ears weekly for any signs of wax build-up or infection.
Food and Diet
Fortunately, feeding an Australian is very easy.
These puppies should be fed around 3 cups of food each day that is spread over 2 meals a day. Make sure your kibbles are high in protein, as this will allow them to work out as hard as they want.
They are not picky eaters and due to their active lifestyle, they are not prone to obesity.
Feeding an Australian Shepherd is one of the easiest aspects of its general care.
Calories per day:Cups of croquettes per day:
Known health issues
In general, this breed is generally healthy and robust.
However, there are medical concerns that you should be aware of before welcoming Australian Shepherds into your home.
- Their merle pattern causes them more trouble. This beautiful coat pattern, caused by a genetic mutation, can lead to deafness and many eye conditions.
- It can even lead to a condition known as solar nasal dermatitis (also known as collie nose) in which your nose lacks pigment and is very sensitive to the sun.
- Their active nature also makes them prone to muscle and bone problems, such as hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. It is especially important to monitor your Australian for any signs of pain or discomfort while exercising.
- Other health problems include hypothyroidism, allergies, and epilepsy.
While this list sounds daunting, your dog will likely never inherit any of these health problems. These are all potential health concerns that you should be aware of so that you can heed any warning signs and alert your vet immediately.
How long does an Australian Shepherd live?
These puppies have a long lifespan of 12 to 15 years.
How much does an Australian Shepherd cost?
Australian Shepherds from a breeder typically cost between $ 600 and $ 1000. Due to their merle pattern, they have to undergo more genetic testing than most puppies, so it costs slightly more for breeders to raise them.
How to train Australian shepherd dog
Training one of these dogs is not a daunting task.
These pups are eager to please and very smart to do just about anything you ask of them.
Although they are easy to train, you need to make sure they know that you are in charge. These pups can be a bit bossy if you let them, so they need to be trained firmly but with love.
They thrive on praise and treats.
The most difficult aspect of training an Australian Shepherd is helping him control his herding instincts.
This is best addressed with professional help in puppy training classes. Professional classes not only help educate you, but they also help socialize your puppy.
Socialization is very important with this breed.
They can be a bit nervous around strangers who haven’t earned their trust yet, so they will need to be introduced to a variety of people at a young age. They naturally get along well with other dogs, but their high prey drive will make it difficult for them to interact with other pets such as cats or rabbits.
Just remember that your intelligence can cause them to do a bit of damage from time to time because they get bored easily.
So you need to make sure they have enough time outside every day and buy them puzzle toys that challenge their minds.
Sonal is a Visual Artist and Social Media enthusiast. She is also a community manager of Picovico and enjoys writing and painting in her free time.